The administrators of one of France’s most popular file sharing sites, “Liberty Land” have been arrested, TorrentFreak is reporting. The French trio are facing charges of organised counterfeiting, which could net them up to 5 years in jail and $700,000 in fines. The site is, as you might expect, down.
Many would argue that Lime Wire has been running on borrowed time for years, but their luck appears to be running out fast. The music industry has asked a New York federal court to shutdown Lime Wire permanently, and they might just get their way this time based on the summary judgment leveled against them last month. "Every day that Lime Wire's conduct continues unabated guarantees harm to plaintiffs that money damages cannot and will not compensate," RIAA lawyers wrote to U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood. "The scope of the infringements that Lime Wire induced...boggles the mind."
Representatives from Lime Wire and the RIAA are scheduled to meet before the judge on Monday, but failing any last minute plea bargains, they could potentially be given a final date by which they must fully cease operations. Despite the gloomy prospects for Lime Wire's future a spokeswoman for the company claims "We are looking forward to an opportunity to address the Court for the first time in two years and show that as a matter of fact and law there is no support for this motion."
The RIAA's primary focus at this point is shutting down the service once and for all, but they are also starting to get concerned that Lime Wire's founder Mark Gorton has been squirreling away the Lime Wire profits into "family partnerships". With liability running into the "hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars", the RIAA could find itself raiding an empty cash drawer by the time they finally finish shutting down the service.
About a month ago we took a look at a disturbing new trend that was emerging in Australia involving the movie industry’s new approach to copyright enforcement. It now appears as though this heavy handed approach has indeed crossed the ocean and the RIAA is preparing to switch gears. Over the past 6 years the music industry has initiated lawsuits against over 35,000 people. Seniors, minors, or the deceased, nobody was safe from the wrath of the recording industry. This public relations nightmare was bound to end sooner or later, but their new approach could see tens of thousands of internet users booted off the web.
The Wall Street Journal has uncovered agreements made between several unnamed ISP’s and the RIAA which will make it possible for them to force internet service providers to disconnect user’s who refuse to cease and desist music sharing after being issued a written warning. Warnings will likely start with an emailed notice of violation which can then lead to restricted bandwidth, or in worst case scenarios as we mentioned before, the disconnection of internet service. Under the newly proposed system, the RIAA would forward a notice to the ISP of an offending IP address, and would leave it up to the provider to contact the individual customer. The positive change here would be that your privacy would not be compromised, and the RIAA would not require disclosure of the customer’s name.
The RIAA believes this new approach will “reach more people” and that it cannot afford to ignore piracy. The group cites NPD figures which show that the growth of illegally downloaded content has stalled in the wake of the uncertainty surrounding the lawsuits. Their new approach would be much more covert, and would likely attract less media attention.
So would you rather be sued or booted off the net? I think I’ll pay the 99 cents a track thank you very much.
Everyone’s favorite trade group, the RIAA, is up to more of its usual, mustache-twirling antics as it appeals the decision to declare a mistrial in its case against Jammie Thomas. For the uninformed, the 30-year-old Thomas is being sued for $220,000 by the RIAA for file sharing. As the first person to take the music industry to court, rather than settle, her case will set a very significant precedent and could have a strong impact on the future of file sharing and the internet.
The suit was originally decided in the RIAA’s favor in October, however Judge Michael Davis threw out the ruling and declared a mistrial, declaring that “he originally misguided the jury by indicating that simply the act of making a copyrighted song available for sharing amounts to infringement,” CNET reports.
The RIAA is appealing the decision, hoping the original ruling will stick and they won’t have to conduct a whole new trial.
What do you think of the Thomas case? Let us know after the break.
If you thought internet metering was taking things too far, try being a Virgin ISP customer. In a joint venture with the British recording industry group BPI, roughly 800 letters have been sent out to file sharers subscribed to Virgin, with thousands more on the way. These aren't 'Thank you for being a customer' notices, and instead the envelopes read "Important: If you don't read this, your broadband could be disconnected."
Despite the ominous warning and pressure from the BPI to implement a three strikes policy - where users of file sharing networks would be given two warnings and then disconnected on a third offense - Virgin claims the wording was a "mistake," saying:
"It is important to let our customers know that their accounts have been used in a certain way but we are happy to accept it may not be the account holder that's involved. It could be someone else in the family or someone living in a shared house. it could even be someone stealing Wi-Fi. We are not making any form of accusation." - Asam Ahmad from Virgin
Virgin went on to claim that there was "absolutely no possiblity" it would take legal action against its customers under the current campaign, and that it wouldn't hand over user information "under any circumstances." Normally such strong statements would be comforting, but if that's the case, why send out the letters in the first place?
Find out how recipients of the letters have reacted after the jump.
There are some pretty broad ideas being floated in there, and like floaters, they really need to be flushed. Items like mandatory ISP filtering or ISPs being required to restrict or terminate access for repeat offenders. Liability for “deeplinks” is also mentioned, which should make the search engines very happy too. The RIAA also has a wish for establishing liability against internet service providers who don’t remove or block content quickly enough. ars technica points our that “the RIAA's points, taken in together, seem aimed at gutting the best part of the DMCA” (if there was such a thing) which gave ISPs immunity from materials passing through their networks.
Online activities aren’t the RIAA’s only target. CDs are in its sights too, with the RIAA suggesting that countries "with high rates of production of pirated optical discs", “provide for a system of licensing”, and "maintain complete and accurate records". Imagine codes stamped onto CDs to allow for their tracking.
There is little doubt that right holders are entitled to profit from their work, but it is very concerning that the RIAA seems to have the policy maker’s ear, but that others are not going to be be heard. This is going to result in some very RIAA slanted rules with little rights left for consumers.